A Walk in the Cemetery


This is a story from the time when I lived in Helsinki. Silent places like cemeteries are perfect city hideaways. Their gardens and sculptures were since early age the places I felt naturally most relaxed. In 2005 I was walking through the Töölö cemetery with my friend Lilli Kinnunen. She is a photographer and had her camera with. We spontaneously decided to take photos of the Tööllö burial ground. I was intrigued by the tombstone typography and thought this could be initiation of cemetery typography collection. We were reading the old tombstone names, adoring their letters and the little hungry passing squirrels. While scrolling down this place of honor taking pictures, the rain begun to wash our faces. Lilli continued capturing the cloud tears running down the stone figures.
Sometimes I try to visualize my own yard with stone or urn made of seashell. Would there be a palm tree, little fir or olive one, because my name translates to olive in Greek and fir in Bulgarian? Perhaps I would rather be ash flowing on a river? I like to visit cemeteries in every country, paying my respect for the ones that I admire. This are places which can tell you much about their inhabiting culture. Conducting projects that inspire new ways of honoring the death are fascinating me. To explore the typography and design of tombstone monuments and their burial rituals. Death has been removed from our modern existence and perhaps this separation is the core of many of our society’s problems. Recognizing and celebrating death as part of our life cycle, ought to be part of our western education. Shouldn’t we celebrate the death giving it brighter form and meaning? To be continued.